Educating the Future of Austin Technology
Today's technology is changing the world at a quicker pace than any prior period of time. In order to keep up with this transformation, our education system will need to react at a much faster rate to develop new skills, curriculum, and resources. This session will bring some of the top educators and influencers from the area together to share how they plan to influence and support this need. The roundtable discussion will include speakers from the private and educational sector, specifically business and engineering academicians from the Austin Independent School District (AISD), Austin Community College (ACC), Concordia University, Texas State University and the University of Texas.
Dr. Donald Christian, accomplished musician and former band director, serves as the Dean of the College of Business for Concordia University Texas, a position he has held since the fall of 2005. Over the past seven years, Dr. Christian has grown the Bachelor of Business Administration program by over 80%, launched The Concordia MBA in the fall of 2010, and provided leadership in creating a required freshman orientation course across the campus. He has also engaged the community in the growth of the College by bringing together multiple program advisory boards, establishing a monthly speaker series which spotlights leaders from the Central Texas region, and partnering with different not-for-profits that provide real-life experiences for select Concordia students.
Dr. Christian received his Doctor of Management in Organizational Leadership from the University of Phoenix where his research and dissertation focused on the correlation between leadership skills and interagency collaboration among organizations. His teaching expertise is in the areas of leadership and management, focusing on developing the critical and creative thinking process for his students. Recent speaking engagements have included the IACBE National Conference, the Austin Leadership Forum, and the International First Year Experience Conference. In the spring of 2011, Dr. Christian was one of three finalists for the position of President at Concordia University, St. Paul. He currently serves as the Vice-President of ECHO Austin and as Chairman of LINC-Houston.
Gregory L. Fenves is dean of the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin. He leads one of the largest schools of engineering in the U.S. with 7400 students and 270 faculty. The Cockrell School educates students to be leaders and innovators with active research programs in high-priority areas such as energy, healthcare, and manufacturing, totaling more than $160 million a year in research expenditures. Many of the research innovations are commercialized by faculty and students.
Fenves was previously on the faculty of the University of California, Berkeley for more than 20 years during which time he had an inside view of Silicon Valley and the amazing successes that are possible when innovation is matched with creative technology and user needs. He reinforces this mission through his role as head of the engineering school at UT. The Cockrell School contributes on an annual basis $1.3 billion a year to the Texas Gross National Product and $74 million in annual state tax revenues. The school is credited with 15,500 permanent jobs in the state.
Holding a bachelor's degree from Cornell University and master's and doctoral degrees from the University of California, Berkeley, Fenves has received numerous national awards, including the National Science Foundation's Presidential Young Investigator Award and four major awards from the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Linda Smarzik, Dean of Computer Studies and Advanced Technology with Austin Community College District (ACC) oversees several highly innovative programs such as, Visual Communication, Computer Science, Computer Information Technology, Architecture Engineering & Computer Aided Design, and Electronics and Advanced Technologies. Her scope of influence encompasses initiatives such as the successful Game Development Institute—a multi-disciplinary program with ACC’s first Applied Game Lab—to the Texas Energy Institute. Linda continues to teach adult learners to develop conceptual thinking skills when applied to problem solving. Currently, Linda is in the final stages of writing a book, developing strategies to access the process of creativity when combined with brain-based concepts.
Nathan Green is co-founder of campus2careers.com and the Austin Young Chamber of Commerce (AYC). campus2careers is the first job board specifically for students and small to mid-sized businesses and was recently ranked the top new start-up in Austin, according to RISE and the Rising Star awards. AYC is the second largest chamber in the city and largest young professional organization in the state. These organizations have helped thousands find jobs and/or get involved in the community. Prior to these endeavors, Nathan was one of the youngest executives at Pearson, a global 300 company. Before that, he held executive positions at Accenture, Bloomberg, and the Everest Group. Nathan sits on number of Corporate and Community Boards, has twice been a finalist in Technology for the Austin Under 40 Awards, and is a graduate of Cornell University.
Terry Chase Hazell has advanced innovation and entrepreneurship as a start-up executive spinning out companies from Universities, as a university employee advancing innovation, and as a university advisor implementing new programs helping women become entrepreneurs and investors. Hazell is Chair of the Texas Emerging Technology Fund Advisory Committee and Director of RampCorp, a Texas State University program to help women entrepreneurs across Texas start their first scalable venture. She is a member of the National Advisory Board for Springboard Enterprises, which has helped women raise $5.5 billion in capital. Hazell is a Charter Member of the Startup America Partnership's Women's Entrepreneurship Working Group. Her specific expertise is biologics manufacturing, and has founded two biotechnology-related spin-out companies for the University of Maryland. She is also an entrepreneur columnist for the Austin Business Journal. Hazell holds a M.S. in Biotechnology Management from the University of Maryland, University College, and a B.S. in Life Science (Microbiology) from the University of Maryland, College Park.